Lisa Markwell: Waiting game that's a new experience for children

FreeView from the editors at i

Related Topics

The waiting is almost over. By the time you read this it might be over. The results received; the path decided upon. But at the time of writing, it's still about the waiting.

Yup, GCSE results day is *of importance* in the Markwell household. The past two months (to say nothing of the past five years) have been leading up to this point. My son's right to privacy precludes me from going into detail about how things might look after 10am this morning, but what has been fascinating is the process of waiting.

Children's idea of waiting is opening a door on the advent calendar, the delay until Christmas sweetened each day by a square of chocolate. Otherwise it's birthdays, broken down from the day after the last one into small increments ("I'm eight and two-thirds"). Generally what children have to wait for is good. It is only now, at 16, that they must face waiting for results in the same way that adults do, anxiously.

That's a hard lesson – that results aren't always the ones you want, or expect. That there isn't always the reward of the presents under the tree after 24 days of folding back cardboard doors. Indeed, without any tangible reward to get their hands on tomorrow (apart from a piece of paper) it was never going to be easy for the majority of children, who aren't naturally studious, to sustain a sensible combination of patience and expectation.

I had plenty of time to think about waiting while I made an unscheduled stop in the A&E department of St Mary's Hospital in London on Monday. What I thought would be a reassuring once-over that would take perhaps an hour and end with a letter for my GP turned into an epic 14 hours. Most of that time, once the initial pain that has sent me there had receded, was spent waiting for the results of tests.

With no battery life on my phone, no book and no one to talk to, the wait seemed interminable. After I'd rearranged my handbag (amazing how you can spin it out if you shuffle your credit cards really s-l-o-w-l-y), I drifted into that twilight zone where the outside world disappears. Like a teenager vacantly playing a computer game, I idly watched the comings and goings of patients in the Clinical Decision Unit. But I could never quite get the thought out of my mind that with the next swing of the ward door could come some unwelcome news for me.

And this morning comes the educational equivalent of a doctor holding a buff envelope with a scan in it. Welcome to our world, kids, where results are greeted with relief, not because of the outcome, but simply because the wait is over.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Labour leader Ed Miliband unveils Labour's pledges carved into a stone plinth in Hastings  

Election 2015: Smash the two-party system! Smash the voting system!

Armando Iannucci
Tactical voting is a necessary evil of the current first-past-the-post system, where voters vote against what they do not want rather than in favour of what they do  

Election 2015: Voting tactically has become more fraught in new political order

Michael Ashcroft
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power